Hamilton, New Zealand (March 18, 2012) -- Former New Zealand rep Daniel Pearce has shot a four under par 68 to claim the North Island Stroke Play by six shots while Lochiel local Emily Perry won by the same margin for her first national title at home. Pearce, who shot a nine under 63 yesterday to match the course record of Fraser Wilkin from round two, backed it up in the final round with a four under par 68 to comfortably win his first senior title.
“It means a lot to me,” said the 23-year-old Pearce, whose only previous national title was winning the South Island Under 19 as a junior.
“It doesn’t quite feel real at the moment. It has been a long time coming to win and it’s pretty exciting to actually do it.”
The former Hastings golfer, who now plays out of the Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne, began in fine style with a birdie at the first.
He backed that up with a fantastic stretch of golf through the turn where he made four birdies and a bogey to put the title beyond reach.
Peter Lee (Rotorua), Pearce’s closest rival overnight by one shot, had a day he’d like to forget with a three over 75 to finish in a share of fourth.
That meant that five straight pars for Pearce from the 14th were good enough for the big hitting Pearce to win by six from Justin Morris (Putaruru) who finished with a two under 70, with Craig Hamilton (Omanu) in third.
The key to Pearce’s turnaround in 2012 has been working with sports psychologist Jamie Glazier in Melbourne on his mental approach and his pre-shot routine.
“I know that I have always had the ability but I am learning to believe in myself. I know that I can play well it is just a matter of trusting my game. That has been the biggest improvement in my game.
“My ball striking has always been good, my short game is pretty good and now my self-belief is heading in the right direction and I feel like I am starting to fulfill potential.
He admitted it was hard to come back down to earth today after his superb 63 of yesterday that included seven birdies and an eagle.
“I didn’t know what to expect after the high of yesterday. But I handled the final round really well. I knew that I was playing well and that is was a new day but I just had to carry that on. I stayed patient and took the chances that came my way. I felt in control and was relaxed all day today which shows that my mental work is working.”
Pearce, a former member of the Hastings Golf Club, heads to the course known as Bridge Pa with plenty of confidence for the New Zealand Stroke Play.
“I’m excited what I can do at Hastings next week. I was a member there for a good few years – so I know the course well and it will be great to play for the New Zealand Stroke Play in good form. “
He hopes to make a further statement to the New Zealand selectors for the Worlds in Turkey.
“Playing at the Eisenhower has always been a goal of mine and I feel like I am playing well enough o be considered for selection. That is out of my hands. I just want to keep playing good golf and this is my last opportunity as I am planning on turning pro at the end of the year. If I am selected then I know I deserve to be there.”
Meantime in the women’s, Perry win by six shots was set up by a red hot finish from the New Zealand rep.
She made five birdies and a bogey in the last six holes to win the title by six shots from overnight joint leader Lita Guo (Remuera Golf Club).
But it wasn’t always that easy. The Auckland rep set the tone in the opening nine holes today when she made the turn in one under to Perry’s even par.
The Waikato No.1 made a fine save on the 11 while Guo found trouble and made a double bogey which was a turning point.
From there Perry played superb golf coming home to secure the win as the favourite at home.
“I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said the 21-year-old from Lochiel.
“There has been a bit of pressure on me this week as the favourite so it was nice to win at home – all wins are special but I appreciate this one a little more since it’s at home.
“It wasn’t easy out there. She put a bit of pressure on me with two early birdies but the way came home was really pleasing.
“I putted a lot better than I have recently. I was really confident with the 10 foot putts for birdie and it was good to play my best golf when it mattered most.”
Perry, who herself has been working hard with a sports psychologist, has been one of the form women amateurs of the summer. She heads to Hastings looking forward to taking on World No.1 Lydia Ko for the New Zealand Stroke Play.
“This win gives me a lot of confidence especially the way I am putting so I am looking forward to Hastings.”